Top Democrat says 'rape' comments didn't determine Senate outcome
November 7th, 2012
04:09 PM ET
7 years ago

Top Democrat says 'rape' comments didn't determine Senate outcome

(CNN) – Widely condemned comments about rape from two Republican candidates weren't the determining factor in Democrats retaining the upper chamber of Congress, a top Senate Democrat said Wednesday.

Sen. Patty Murray, the chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said the two seats her party picked up were instead the prize for hard work ahead of an election that once seemed an uphill climb for Democrats, who were defending 23 of the 33 seats being contested in Tuesday's vote.

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"We always said we were going to put ourselves in a position to seize upon Republican missteps and we did," Murray said on a conference call. "But offensive comments from Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock did not decide this election. It was a result of hard work and critical strategic decisions over many months."

Those two Republicans received massive blowback this summer and fall for comments on rape and abortion – Akin for claiming that pregnancy was rare after "legitimate rape," and Mourdock for saying God intends for pregnancies occurring from rape.

Both Akin and Mourdock lost their bids for U.S. Senate in elections where Democrats previously appeared vulnerable.

Murray also touted a persistent spending deficit for Democrats, saying the fact her team was outspent in close races was proof the politicians running under the Democratic banner were "the best class of candidates I've ever seen."

"We proved to Karl Rove, the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce], and a bunch of right wing billionaires, they can spend all the money they want, but they can't buy themselves the U.S. Senate," Murray said on the call. "If I'm Sheldon Adelson, Charles Koch or a big oil executive, I would be picking up the phone today and asking the Chamber, asking Karl Rove 'What the heck did you do?'"

The disparity among the Democratic candidates who won – including those in the progressive wing like Massachusetts' Elizabeth Warren, and more moderate senators-to-be like Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota and Tim Kaine in Virginia – didn't worry Murray, who said she was "confident we'll be able to work with these people to move in the right direction."

She added she had "sympathy and understanding" for Sen. John Cornyn, her counterpart at the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

"I don't see this as a John Cornyn problem, I see this as a Republican Party problem, and they'll have to figure out how to deal with that," Murray said.

On that point, she and Cornyn seem to agree. The Texas Republican released a statement Tuesday night urging some introspection for the GOP.

"It's clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party," Cornyn wrote. "While some will want to blame one wing of the party over the other, the reality is candidates from all corners of our GOP lost tonight. Clearly we have work to do in the weeks and months ahead."

Filed under: 2012 • Patty Murray • Senate
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Congragulations on your loss atkins and merdork ,the perfect example of gop incompetence bafoons who don't belong in government at any level !!!!

    November 7, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. DENNA

    The rape comment may not have determined the race, but they certainly did not help one bit. The GOP has got to stop this or they will never get back into power again. Actually, as long as the Tea Party is in charge of the GOP, maybe that would not be a bad thing.

    November 7, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Dave Jaipersaud

    Ha! Ha! – Romney/Ryan & the Republicans lost. What a bunch of losers. The GOP can try to blame it on Democrats ground game, weather, too much regulations, tax increases on the rich, climate change etc. but the people saw through all the lies and nonsense they were selling. I hope the Republican learnt a lesson that the American people are not forgetful and stupid. We can remember clearly what happened when the Republicans were in charge of the White House.

    It was painful watching Fox News try to spin a major Republican loss into a major Republican win. All of their projections that Romney would win were dead wrong. It proves that Fox News has not credibility. Everyone of them. So for those folks who watch Fox News and listen to House and Senate Republicans and their surrogates spew their lies as gospel, this is a wake-up call. They are leading you down a losing path.

    Now we can continue to build and move this country forward.

    November 7, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Joe

    In Missouri, McCaskill ran ads in the Republican primary blasting Akin, knowing that voters would assume she considered him the strongest candidate. Then Democrats voted for him in the Republican primary to assure he would be the candidate. She basically set up the weakest candidate and manipulated the election. Polling before the primary showed that just about any dead dog would beat McCaskill so she was desperate. The only reason she won was because of Akin. Any of the other Republican primary candidates would have beat her by double-digits (that's what the polling before the primary showed). She is NOT popular at all in Missouri and probably won't be a 3-term Senator. It was the lesser of two evils, and I'm not sure the lesser won :-).

    November 7, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    ""It's clear that with our losses in the Presidential race, and a number of key Senate races, we have a period of reflection and recalibration ahead for the Republican Party,""

    They spewed the same kind of faux contrition in 2008 and CNN and everyone here knows it. And what did we get in terms of "recalibration" last time? We got an astroturf movement designed to provide them with political cover for moving waaaaaaaaaay to the extreme right while radicalizing their base, breaking Congress and attempting to cause the POTUS to fail solely so they could blame him for everyone's continued suffering.


    November 7, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Commensense

    I would hope that everyone who has been elected to work for the people will do just that, its time to get something done, congress if you want to keep your seats the American people will be expecting you to work for solutions, not for your own agenda, quit holding the us hostage because you don't want the wealthy to pay a fair tax. We the people will be watching, you have a job to do. Isn't that what grown ups do and take responsibility for your actions..

    November 7, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. The Unsub

    I would like to thank (four and the door, myviewis, and other haters) If it wasn't for your daily vitriolic posts, PRESIDENT OBAMA would not have been re-elected! I hope that this is the END of the Republican Party as WE know it!

    November 7, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  8. nothing new here

    It may not have hurt, but these comments did not help either.
    More importantly, this should show that our country is made up, mostly, of moderates. People that want sensible solutions, without all the heated rhetoric. People that are fiscal conservatives, but would rather leave the preaching to the preachers on Sunday mornings.
    In elections, I cast my votes for potential government leaders, not preachers or prophets.

    November 7, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. HJ Hokie

    When your party's stated goal is to insure that the opposition party's President can only serve 1 term (thus insuring he fails and America suffers) you have not done your JOB which is to provide America with political leadership which helps solve the challenges that confronts it. When your party is controlled by "birthers", "legitimate rape" spewing neanderthals, "will of God" spewing theocrats, and conspiracy theorists your party has gone far off the deep end and really needs to come bak to reality.

    I WANT to have a legitimate alternative to the democratic party but as of right now the Republicans aren't it. Their extremism poses a bigger danger to freedom and toleration in America than the Taliban does.

    (the reason I say that is the Taliban would never be able to impose their Sharia law on America but the far right "Christian" conservatives could concievably force their religion on the rest of us)

    November 7, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. fernace

    While it's true the Republican Party does have some "soul searching" to do, I read they think they need to be more "severly conservative," not less! W/men in their party who spout such outlandish lunacy, as Akin & Mourdock has, how can educated, humane, intelligent people take them seriously! I mean, is this truly what they believe! That a 12 yr old girl, who's been ra.ped by her uncle, should be forced to have a baby by him!? This is not what the bible teaches, or what any moral, decent human thinks! It's wrong on so many levels, just horrendous! Scary stuff, that! Scarier still; so many of the GOTP think this should be law, in the name of the Gift of Life! Twisted!! So Glad Obama is back!!

    November 7, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |